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Moving Quick Today…
• Matthew 5:4
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be
They that mourn - Either for their own sins, or for
other’s, and are steadily and habitually serious.
They shall be comforted - More solidly and deeply
even in this world, and eternally in heaven.
• Say the colors as fast as you can. It is not as easy as you
might think!
• Can you do it faster with practice?
• This is called the stroop effect*
Words may process faster than colors. Interconnection of
Culture and Brain Processing
Searching for the self by studying the body
(developed by Franz Gall in
the early 1800’s):
the study of bumps on the
skull and their relationship
to mental abilities and
character traits
 Phrenology yielded one big idea-that the brain might have
different areas that do different
things (localization of function).
Today’s search for the biology of the self:
biological psychology
 Biological psychology
includes neuroscience,
behavior genetics,
neuropsychology, and
evolutionary psychology.
 All of these
subspecialties explore
different aspects of:
how the nature of mind
and behavior is rooted in
our biological heritage.
 Our study of the biology
of the mind begins with
the “atoms” of the
mind: neurons.
Neurons and Neuronal Communication:
The Structure of a Neuron
There are billions of neurons
(nerve cells) throughout the body.
Action potential:
a neural impulse that travels down an
axon like a wave
Just as “the wave” can flow to
the right in a stadium even
though the people only move
up and down, a wave moves
down an axon although it is
only made up of ion exchanges
moving in and out.
Parts of a Neuron
Cell Body: Life support center of the neuron.
Dendrites: Branching extensions at the cell body.
Receive messages from other neurons.
Axon: Long single extension of a neuron, covered with
myelin [MY-uh-lin] sheath to insulate and speed up
messages through neurons.
Terminal Branches of axon: Branched endings of an
axon that transmit messages to other neurons.
When does the cell send
the action potential?...
when it reaches a
The neuron
signals from
some are
telling it to
fire and some
are telling it
not to fire.
 When the
threshold is
reached, the
action potential
starts moving.
 Like a gun, it
either fires or it
doesn’t; more
stimulation does
 This is known as
the “all-ornone” response.
The threshold is reached when
excitatory (“Fire!”) signals
outweigh the inhibitory (“Don’t
fire!”) signals by a certain amount.
How neurons communicate
(with each other):
The action
travels down
the axon
from the cell
body to the
The signal is
to another
However, the
must find a
way to cross
a gap
cells. This
gap is also
called the
Threshold: Each neuron receives excitatory and
inhibitory signals from many neurons. When the
excitatory signals minus the inhibitory signals
exceed a minimum intensity (threshold) the
neuron fires an action potential.
Action Potential Properties
All-or-None Response: A strong stimulus can
trigger more neurons to fire, and to fire more
often, but it does not affect the action potentials
strength or speed.
Intensity of an action potential remains the
same throughout the length of the axon.
Refractory Period & Pumps
* Refractory Period: After a neuron has fired an
action potential it pauses for a short period to
recharge itself to fire again. Negative Ions enter.
* Sodium-Potassium Pumps: Sodium-potassium
pumps pump positive ions out from the inside
of the neuron, making them ready for another
action potential.
Need 10 volunteers…
You need to be willing to have your toe
touched and to touch a toe.
Action Potentials have to travel.
The Synapse
The synapse is a
junction between the
axon tip of the
sending neuron and
the dendrite or cell
body of the receiving
The synapse is
also known as the
junction” or
“synaptic gap.”
are chemicals
used to send a
signal across the
synaptic gap.
Recycling Neurotransmitters [NTs]
After the neurotransmitters
stimulate the receptors on
the receiving neuron, the
chemicals are taken back up
into the sending neuron to
be used again.
Neural Communication:
Seeing all the Steps Together
Neural Communication
 Acetylcholine [ah-seat-el-KO-leen]
 a neurotransmitter that, among its
functions, triggers muscle contraction
 Endorphins [en-DOR-fins] *
 “morphine within”
 natural, opiatelike neurotransmitters
 linked to pain control and to pleasure
Roles of Different Neurotransmitters
Some Neurotransmitters and Their Functions
Neurotransmitter Function
Problems Caused by Imbalances
Affects mood, hunger,
sleep, and arousal
Undersupply linked to depression;
some antidepressant drugs raise
serotonin levels
Influences movement,
learning, attention, and
Oversupply linked to schizophrenia;
undersupply linked to tremors and
decreased mobility in Parkinson’s
disease and ADHD
Enables muscle action,
learning, and memory
ACh-producing neurons deteriorate as
Alzheimer’s disease progresses
Helps control alertness
and arousal
Undersupply can depress mood and
cause ADHD-like attention problems
GABA (gammaaminobutyric acid
A major inhibitory
Undersupply linked to seizures,
tremors, and insomnia
A major excitatory
involved in memory
Oversupply can overstimulate the brain,
producing migraines or seizures; this is
why some people avoid MSG
(monosodium glutamate) in food
Networks of neurons that
communicate with serotonin
help regulate mood.
Networks of neurons that
communicate with dopamine are
involved in focusing attention
and controlling movement.
Hearing the message
How Neurotransmitters Activate
When the
key fits,
the site is
Keys that almost fit:
Agonist and Antagonist Molecules
An agonist molecule fills
the receptor site and
activates it, acting like the
An antagonist molecule
fills the lock so that the
neurotransmitter cannot
get in and activate the
receptor site.
The Inner and Outer Parts of the
Nervous System
The central
consists of
the brain
and spinal
for the
system [PNS]
consists of
‘the rest’ of
the nervous
gathers and
to and from
the rest of
the body.
Types of Neurons
neurons carry
messages IN
from the
body’s tissues
and sensory
receptors to
the CNS for
neurons carry
OUT from the
CNS out to the
body’s tissues.
(in the brain
and spinal
cord) process
between the
sensory input
and motor
The “Nerves”
are not the same as neurons.
Nerves consist of
neural “cables”
containing many
Nerves are part of
the peripheral
nervous system and
connect muscles,
glands, and sense
organs to the
central nervous
More Parts of the Nervous System
The Peripheral Nervous System
The sympathetic
NS arouses
NS calms
(rest and digest)
The Central Nervous System
 The brain is a web of
neural networks.
 The spinal cord is full of
interneurons that
sometimes have a “mind
of their own.”
Neural Networks
These complex webs of interconnected
neurons form with experience.
“Neurons that fire together, wire together.”
Interneurons in the Spine
Your spine’s
interneurons trigger
your hand to pull
away from a fire
before you can say
This is an example
of a reflex action.
Pupil to Pupil
• Turn to a partner and have them close
their eyes for five seconds and then open
• What happens to their pupil?
• Why?
How Fast are You?
• Hold the ruler near the end (highest number) and
let it hang down. Have another person put his or
her hand at the bottom of the ruler and have them
ready to grab the ruler (however, they should not
be touching the ruler). Tell the other person that
you will drop the ruler sometime within the next 5
seconds and that they are supposed to catch the
ruler as fast as they can after it is dropped. Record
the level (inches or centimeters) at which they
catch the ruler. Test the same person 3 to 5 times
(vary the time of dropping the ruler within the 5
second "drop-zone" so the other person cannot
guess when you will drop the ruler).